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Do I have to obtain a business license and register with the state before starting my business?

Williamstown, NJ |

I am starting an online site and have checked the state requirements which are obtaining a business license and registration. I am not sure if the company will be profitable. Can I start the company and then apply for the license after the fact?

Attorney Answers 5


  1. Whether you would be in violation of state code by operating the business without the proper compliance really depends.

    When you set up an entity in NJ you apply and register with tax and finance at the same time. Here, the state will be told what the nature of your business consists of, etc. Beyond that, and in some industries, you may be required to obtain additional permits, but there is no way for any of us to know without understanding exactly what you are doing in the context of state requirements. Further, even municipalities may have some compliance as well.

    I highly doubt that you have much more to think about if this is just an online ecommerce type venture unless you are selling highly regulated goods.

    I suggest that you consult with a lawyer in private and discuss your objectives in more detail. You can start by calling around to several for a free phone consultation, get some insights then pick the best fit to work with.

    Best regards,
    Frank
    Natoli-Lapin, LLC

    DISCLAIMER: this is not intended to be specific legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. No attorney-client relationship is formed with the law firm of Natoli-Lapin, LLC on the basis of this posting.


  2. I agree with my colleague. In addition, if you plan to have employees at the start of your business, you should register as soon as possible, and consult with an accountant familiar with required state withholdings for taxes, workers' comp, etc. And don't assume that you can start with all contract employees (1099 workers) and be safe. NJ has its own definition of who is an employee and who is not, and it does not turn simply on the fact that you call them an "independent contractor" in an agreement.

    Please consult an attorney directly before taking action. This answer is intended for general information only and should not be taken as legal advice. My communication with you is not privileged and is not within, or intended to create, an attorney-client relationship. Pursuant to Circular 230 of the Department of Treasury: (1) no written statement to be provided by me relating to any Federal tax transaction or matter is intended to be used, and no such statement can be used, for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed on the taxpayer, and (2) such written statement may not be used by any person to support the promotion or marketing of or to recommend any Federal tax transaction or matter.


  3. Messrs Natoli and Mack are spot on. Consult with a lawyer and a CPA to make sure your I's are dotted and your T's are crossed.

    The content of the this submission is intended to provide general information on the topic presented, and is offered with the understanding that the author is not rendering any legal or professional services or advice. This submission is not a substitute for legal advice. Should you require such services, retain competent legal counsel.


  4. You take the risk of subjecting yourself to personal liability.

    Attorney answers to questions are for general purposes only and do not establish an attorney-client relationship. There are always specific facts that are important for an attorney to review before providing advice to a Client. In no way should you rely on the response provided herein to conduct your legal affairs on your own. You should always hire an attorney before you rely on advice provided.


  5. First, you should have your tax and business lawyer review your proposed business. Most likely, a Limited Liability Company would be the best form of entity. NJ is very difficult with Sales and Use Tax as well as regulation, and you and your attorney may select another State.

    Please do not start operating as a sole proprietor. You are putting all of you assets at risk!

    I hope this helps.

    Ron Cappuccio

    If you do not like this answer or disagree, please look at one of the other answers provided. It is not necessary for you to try prove this answer is "wrong" or something with which you do not agree. This is a free service for you based on limited facts. Nevertheless, many times you need to consult an attorney with the details to get actual advice specific to your concerns. Do not put too many details in your questions or comments because this makes the information public and could hurt you. Government Regulations contained in IRS Circular 230 regulate written communications about Federal tax matters, including e-mail, between us and our clients. This is another attempt by the government to limit your rights and to extend the control of government over individuals and businesses. Nevertheless, such communications are either opinions or other written communications. This is not an opinion. It is other written communication and was not written to be relied upon, by itself, to avoid any tax penalties. In order to receive assurances of protection from tax penalties from a written communication, you should get an opinion letter. If you would like to discuss an opinion letter relating to any matter, please contact me and I will explain what is involved and what it will cost.

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